My Go-To Couscous Non-Recipe Recipe

Yes, you can make couscous without a recipe! Couscous is definitely one of my phone-it-in side dishes when I’m not sure what to make and want to have something else on the table. I love anything I can customize to my preferences, mood and honestly, pantry. Enter: couscous non-recipe recipe!

You know how much I love a you-do-you-boo recipe, right? Hope so by now! And you can 100% customize your couscous to any of your own favorite flavors and absolutely whatever you have in your pantry. My couscous usually ends up with the same ingredients because they’re things I always, always have on hand in my pantry.

My go-to for couscous are:

  • Cherry peppers, sliced – always! They’re basically my favorite for everything ever. Since Trader Joe’s stopped making theirs, I just rely on the ones at the olive bar at a grocery store – haven’t found a jarred one I like yet.
  • Kalamata olives, which I always have on hand. The pitted ones from Trader Joe’s are my fav.
  • Marinated artichokes, which give so much flavor and moisture to couscous.
  • Parsley, for color. Gotta have some color!

Some other ingredients I love to add to couscous, depending on what we’re working with in the pantry:

  • Chickpeas
  • Pine nuts, walnuts
  • Dried cranberries
  • Pickled onions
  • Roasted red peppers, sliced, or pimento peppers, sliced

Go-To Couscous Recipe

The perfect side dish that is totally customizable! This is my favorite and my typical go-to for couscous. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: couscous, side dish, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings


  • 1 box couscous see notes
  • water, according to the box
  • 1 jar of marinated artichokes cut into halves or quarters
  • 1/2-1 cup cherry peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, or less, for garnish optional
  • olive oil, as needed
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  • Prepare couscous according to the instructions. 
  • Meanwhile, prepare artichokes, peppers and olives; place in a bowl. 
  • Add couscous to the add-ins, toss to combine. 
  • Drizzle olive oil slowly, mixing as you go to combine. Monitor the couscous so that it is still a bit damp but not over-oily. 
  • Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your preferences. 


Okay, you can 100% use plain couscous, you do you! However, I really like the couscous that’s chicken flavor – it just really has more flavor. If you use plain couscous, you’ll want to add seasoning, such as boullion or an Italian seasoning mix. 

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